Workshop to examine ‘realist’ research, evaluation


Northern Institute RRELI team: (from left) Shelley Worthington, Professor Gill Westhorp, Emma Williams and Rebecca Hardwick.

Northern Institute RRELI team: (from left) Shelley Worthington, Professor Gill Westhorp, Emma Williams and Rebecca Hardwick.

An intensive five-day workshop beginning 4 March at CDU’s Sydney campus will introduce participants to the philosophical assumptions of a realist philosophy of science and their implications for understanding how policies and programs work.
Participants will develop skills in designing and implementing realist research and evaluation, from developing initial questions through to final reporting. The workshop also covers realist review, the realist approach to systematic literature reviews and rapid realist review.

Workshop sessions will be facilitated by Professor Gill Westhorp and Rebecca Hardwick, who are members of the Northern Institute Realist Research Evaluation and Learning Initiative (RRELI), which brings together researchers and evaluators skilled in applying “the realist approach” to complex policy problems.

International guest, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, Dr Gary Groot will also fill the role of workshop facilitator.

His passions are health system improvement, cancer research and Indigenous health research. In recent years, Dr Groot has become interested and actively involved in realist research methodology.

Professor Westhorp leads realist research and evaluation projects, provides professional development in evaluation and realist methods around the world, participates in research projects as a realist methodologist and mentors other researchers and evaluators in developing and undertaking realist designs.

Ms Hardwick is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Northern Institute RRELI team. She has a background in public health and health service research, and has submitted her PhD at the University of Exeter on Knowledge Mobilisation in not-for-profit healthcare organisations.

Critical realism is a philosophical approach associated with British philosopher and academic Dr Roy Bhaskar (1944–2014) that combines a general philosophy of science (transcendental realism) with a philosophy of social science (critical naturalism) to describe an interface between the natural and social worlds.

This workshop is available to researchers and evaluators in other organisations and Departments; to commissioners of research and evaluation; Master of Public Policy students; post-graduate students from any university; and staff who want to develop new research and evaluation skills.

Date and time:  Monday, 4 March 2018 to Friday, 8 March 2019, 8.30 am – 5.00 pm

Venue:  CDU Sydney Campus, Level 10, 815 George Street, Haymarket, NSW, 2000

For more information, please contact:

Professor Gill Westhorp
Professorial Research Fellow
Northern institute
P: +61 8 8389 4590

Greg Williams
Course Coordinator
Northern Institute
P: +61 8 8946 7469

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